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Kimberly-Clark Corp. v. District of Columbia

ELR Citation: 48 ELR 20001
Nos. 17-01901, (D.D.C., 12/22/2017) (Boasberg, J.)

A district court ruled that the District of Columbia's flushable wipe law won't take effect as scheduled. The law, which was to take effect January 1, 2018, stated that wipes labeled "flushable" must readily break up and degrade in sewers. A flushable wipes manufacturer sought to enjoin the implementation of the law, as it already manufactured and advertises wipes as flushable that do not meet the law's criteria, and feared the law may force it to change how it advertises its wipes. The city argued that the injunction was unnecessary as it had not promulgated regulations to implement the act and would take no enforcement action until regulations were in place. The court found that the statute could still impose retroactive liability against the manufacturer for wipes manufactured after January 1, 2018. Further, the court held that the act violated the manufacturer's First Amendment rights as it forces it to label its product in a way that is not "purely factual and uncontroversial." The injunction was granted.